SENATE, No. 242

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

219th LEGISLATURE

 

PRE-FILED FOR INTRODUCTION IN THE 2020 SESSION

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator  TROY SINGLETON

District 7 (Burlington)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     “New Jersey American Dream Act”; appropriates $25 million to provide down payment and home repair assistance to low and moderate income first-time homebuyers.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     Introduced Pending Technical Review by Legislative Counsel.

  


An Act concerning housing assistance for certain homebuyers, supplementing Title 52 of the Revised Statutes, and making an appropriation.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.    P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill) shall be known and may be cited as the “New Jersey American Dream Act.”

 

     2.    As used in P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill):

     “Commissioner” means the Commissioner of Community Affairs.

     “Department” means the Department of Community Affairs.

     “Director” means the director of the division.

     “Division” means the Division of Housing and Community Resources in the department.

     “Down payment assistance” means financial assistance for first-time homebuyers to acquire single-family housing for principal residence.

     “First-time homebuyer” means a lower-income household in which no person has owned a home during the three-year period prior to the purchase of the single-family housing for which financial assistance is provided.  

     “Grant program” means the “New Jersey American Dream Program” established pursuant to section 3 of P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill).

     “Home repair assistance” means financial assistance for first-time homebuyers to complete capital improvements or repairs that: (1) are identified in an appraisal or home inspection completed in conjunction with a purchase of single-family housing; or (2) are completed within one year of the purchase of single-family housing and are necessary to bring the housing unit into compliance with any applicable health and safety housing code, including but not limited to the remediation of lead-based paint hazards.

     “Low and moderate income household” means a household whose gross income is not greater than 80 percent of the median gross household income, according to the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, for households of the same size within the county in which the single-family housing, for which financial assistance is provided, is located.

     “Principal residence” means the homestead actually and continually occupied as the permanent residence of a household, as distinguished from a vacation home, property owned and rented or offered for rent by the household, or other secondary real property holdings.

     “Single-family housing” means a one- to four-family residence, a condominium unit, a cooperative unit, a combination of a manufactured housing and lot, or a manufactured housing lot.

 

     3.    a.   There is established in the division the “New Jersey American Dream Program” to provide financial assistance for low and moderate income households to achieve homeownership.  The grant program shall provide down payment assistance and home repair assistance to low and moderate income households, who are first-time homebuyers, to defray the costs associated with acquiring and rehabilitating single-family housing for principal residence. 

     b.    The financial assistance shall be in the form of grant awards. The grant awarded to each first-time homebuyer shall not exceed six percent of the purchase price of the single-family housing or $10,000, whichever is greater.  The grant award shall be used for down payment assistance, home repair assistance, or any combination thereof. Each first-time homebuyer who receives financial assistance through the grant program shall complete not less than eight hours of a homebuyer counseling course, as directed by the department pursuant to subsection c. of this section.

     c.     (1)   The commissioner, in consultation with the director, shall promulgate rules and regulations pursuant to the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.), on or before the first day of the third month next following the enactment of P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill), to effectuate the purposes of the grant program.  The rules and regulations shall, at a minimum, set forth the requirements for application submissions, the criteria for application selections, the eligible uses of financial assistance, and the curriculum and provision of the homebuyer counseling course.

     (2)   The division shall administer the grant program.  The grant program shall remain in operation for not less than four years following the promulgation of the rules and regulations pursuant to paragraph (1) of this subsection. 

     d.    The annual appropriations act shall appropriate not less than $25 million from the General Fund to the department, during each year in which the grant program remains in operation, to defray the costs associated with administering the grant program, except that the department shall retain not more than five percent of the annual appropriation for administrative costs.

 

     4.    There is appropriated $25 million from the General Fund to the Department of Community Affairs to defray the costs associated with administering the “New Jersey American Dream Program,” established pursuant to section 3 of P.L.    , c.    (C.        ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill).

 

     5.    This act shall take effect immediately.

STATEMENT

 

     This bill, known as the “New Jersey American Dream Act,” establishes the “New Jersey American Dream Program” (“grant program”) to provide financial assistance for certain lower-income households to achieve homeownership. 

     Specifically, the grant program would provide down payment assistance and home repair assistance to certain low and moderate income, first-time homebuyers in order to defray the costs associated with acquiring and rehabilitating single-family housing for principal residence.  Under the grant program, the maximum grant awarded to each first-time homebuyer would not exceed six percent of the home’s purchase price or $10,000, whichever is greater. Each first-time homebuyer who receives financial assistance through the grant program would also be required to complete not less than eight hours of a homebuyer counseling course, as directed by the Department of Community Affairs (“department”).

     Under the bill, eligible recipients of financial assistance would include low and moderate income households who are first-time homebuyers.  The bill defines a “low and moderate income household” as any household whose gross income is not greater than 80 percent of the median gross household income for households of the same size within the county in which the single-family housing, for which financial assistance is provided, is located.  Additionally, a “first-time homebuyer” is defined as any low and moderate income household in which no person has owned a home during the three-year period prior to the purchase of the single-family housing for which financial assistance is provided.

     The Division of Housing and Community Resources (“division”) in the department would administer the grant program.  Under the bill, the Commissioner of Community Affairs, in consultation with the director of the division, would be required to promulgate rules and regulations within three months of the enactment of the bill to effectuate the purposes of the grant program.

     The bill requires the grant program to remain in operation for not less than four years.  During that time, the bill also requires the State to annually appropriate not less than $25 million from the General Fund to support the operations of the grant program, except that the department may not retain more than five percent of program funding for administrative costs. Accordingly, the bill appropriates $25 million from the General Fund to the department to support the grant program’s first year of operations.